(Warning: the video is graphic and disturbing.)
Rice was suspended for two games in July, a decision that sparked an uproar. Subsequently, Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized, saying of the punishment, “I didn’t get it right” and announcing more severe penalties for domestic violence incidents. The NFL, in a statement issued Monday morning, said it had not seen video from inside the elevator. “We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator,” the league’s statement said. “That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
Still, a number of infuriating, baffling questions about why the league handled the punishment the way it remain about an incident that was handled poorly all the way around. In May, Rice and his wife held a press conference in which she said she regretted her role in the incident — a move that also drew criticism — as did the way in which the Ravens responded to the incident. Goodell drew further criticism for his decision to interview Rice with his wife in the room in the spring. Then came the decision, which was explained poorly by Adolpho Birch in July. Birch, in an interview on the “Mike & Mike” show, defended the punishment as “appropriate” and the furor continued until Goodell announced the tough new policy, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense and a possible ban for a second.
For his part, Rice entered a pretrial diversion program and is undergoing counseling. After the suspension was announced, he apologized for the incident. “I made the biggest mistake of my life,” Rice said then. “I want to own it.”
He can rejoin the Ravens on Friday.
Mike Wise: Roger Goodell dropped the ball
Sally Jenkins: Interpreting the NFL’s message